Saudi court upholds jail term for rights lawyer

141903_Waleed_Abu_al-Khair_0_teaser_one_colDUBAI: An appeals court in Saudi Arabia has upheld a 15-year jail term for a human rights lawyer who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, a watchdog said on Wednesday.

The Specialised Criminal Court of Appeal, which hears terrorism cases, confirmed on Sunday the latest verdict against Waleed Abulkhair, said the Gulf Centre for Human Rights.

Abulkhair was convicted last July on a series of charges including “inciting public opinion” but the last five years of the sentence were initially suspended.

In January another court ordered Abulkhair to serve the full 15 years of his sentence, a ruling upheld by the latest decision.

The Gulf Centre for Human Rights, which has offices in Beirut and Copenhagen, said Abulkhair was transferred on February 4 from a prison in his home city of Jeddah to one in the capital Riyadh.

“It’s believed that his refusal to recognise the legitimacy of the trial court, in addition to not giving an apology to the court, were the reasons behind his recent transfer,” the centre said on its Website.

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